Steve Jobs – Netopia at the Movies

Few companies are blessed with consumers that are more like fans. Perhaps some car brands, but for the most part, Apple is a unique beast. Of course the Apple cult is in large part thanks to its messianic founder Steve Jobs, whose life story has been told many times but most recently as a major Hollywood picture. The writer – Aaron Sorkin – is himself a unique beast as screen writing goes, not many writers are celebrated the way Sorkin is (perhaps also Charlie Kaufman, but who else?) and Sorkin’s dialogue is always apparent behind any acting and direction. It’s not the first time Aaron Sorkin tells the story of a Silicon Valley portal figure, The Social Network in 2010 portrayed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to power. It’s fair to say that Sorkin’s basic idea is the same this time: private life events are connected to business strategies. In Zuckerberg’s case, his social phobia led him to create a technological tool where he can find information about other people without interacting with them (Andrew Keen sees this as Zuckerberg projecting his own autism onto the rest of the world in his 2015 book The Internet Is Not the Answer). For Sorkin’s Steve Jobs, it’s more about proving to the world that he’s right and you’re wrong which comes deep down from his feelings of rejection from being adopted as an infant. The movie is a constant argument Steve Jobs has with everyone around him. Of course Sorkin makes this argument very interesting to follow, as in his other work – like The West Wing – his trick is to make both sides equally convincing and once it seems the reasons are exhausted a new and deeper motive is revealed. I must confess I am charmed by this trick, I’m under Sorkin’s spell if you like. But if you’re an Apple fan, you may not be as happy with this Steve Jobs character. He is ruthless also to those who love him the most. But if you’re interested in Silicon Valley intrigue, it’s a great take on the founding myth of the highest valued company in the world. Weirdly, Michael Fassbender looks a lot more like Tim Cook than Steve Jobs.